Traffic is congested as construction continues Tuesday afternoon on the Roswell Road overpass of I-285 in Sandy Springs. Commuters may see some relief on their drive home with the completion of a wider revamped Roswell Road interchange over I-285.
Tens of thousands of topside commuters may soon see some relief on their drive home with the scheduled completion this month of a wider, revamped Roswell Road overpass at I-285.
Coupled with I-285 resurface work on weeknights and weekends, commuters traveling the northern part of the Perimeter have been hit with major tie-ups.
Construction on the Roswell Road interchange in Sandy Springs began in February, and it has at times created lane closures and traffic shifts for the estimated 35,000 vehicles that pass the area each day. On Tuesday, traffic backed up midday while crews closed all but three lanes of the bridge to work on the southbound lanes.
The $3.57 million project will add a sixth lane to the overpass, providing drivers with two through lanes northbound and southbound, plus a dedicated lane in each direction for left turns onto the freeway. The old design had five lanes, including a single center lane for left turns that often forced traffic to stretch into the through lanes.
“That should really help, because that slowdown in the left-turn lane really backs things up,” said Sandy Springs resident Steven Chen, who crosses the bridge each day on his way to work. “It sounds like they’re adding capacity, which makes sense.”
Irnes Masic, manager of Bakkal International Foods on Roswell Road, just south of the bridge, said most of his customers say they’ve learned what times to avoid the interchange.
“If they widen [the bridge] a little bit, traffic will be a little smoother, and I’m guessing they’ll start coming at regular times again,” he said.
The Georgia Department of Transportation targeted the bridge for improvements because of its heavy traffic volume, spokesman Mark McKinnon said.
Putting in the additional turn lane, he said, should help ease the backups.
“You really don’t have to add another travel lane,” he said. “You can just make dual turn lanes, and you add a lot of storage that gets traffic out of those travel lanes.”
McKinnon said crews still have plenty to do by the end of the month, but the project remains on schedule for an Oct. 31 completion.
Over the next few weeks, crews will install guardrails, place an epoxy overlay over the new portion of the bridge, asphalt and stripe the surface and install a sidewalk south of the bridge.
The project also calls for widening the westbound and eastbound on-ramps onto I-285 to accommodate two lanes of metered traffic entering the freeway.
Charlie Wingo, an Atlanta resident who commutes to Sandy Springs, said he hasn’t been too bothered by the construction, but he does tend to avoid the area at lunchtime. He said he’s eager to see any improvement to traffic flow along Roswell Road.
“Why, when they built the thing in the first place, they didn’t put in a clover interchange is beyond me,” he said.
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